Hello again, everyone. I am writing this after returning home from the big engine show Aug. 25-29, 2004, in Portland, Ind. This had to be one of the biggest Portland shows ever, with what looked like a record number of exhibitors and vendors. I walked the parts area for three days and know I missed many items and vendors, but I thought the model end of the hobby had a very fine selection on hand.
The growth in the show meant some folks got moved from their 'regular' spots, so it took me a bit to find some of the folks I wanted to see. Among those at the show was Richard Shelly with his fine line of Galloway engines and other nice casting kits. Just down from Richard was Brooks Pendergrast with his Stickney, running sweet and pumping water all day. William 'Bill' DeBolt had a gearless Olds on hand and running nice, and he talked about his next adventure, a model of the Star. Vic Greenwood had both water hopper and air-cooled versions of his Red Wing models, and both looked impressive. At the end of this row was LeRoy Hoover, who has a very nice casting set for the New Holland and one he calls the 'Little John.' In another row, I found Clair Fetters with his 1/3-scale air-cooled United. This model ran very well, and it's interesting to note that some of the parts are cast epoxy.
I talked with Nick Rowland about his flame-eater model, and he told me he is working on an internal combustion model. Talking with Nick is fun; he's young and looks like he's just out of college - the hobby lives!
In another section of the show I found Tom Ball with his model of the Fairbanks Eclipse, and around the corner from him was John Burns with the fine Burns & Horner Bessemer and Reid oil field engine scales. John is taking a little step away from the scale end of Burns & Horner, and Robert Hartman (1974 Pearl, Warren, MI 48091; (586) 756-6759) is taking over sales of all Burns & Horner scale models (including getting castings poured). John will continue developing scale engines (his newest model will be a Superior) and will retain the full-sized parts end of the business.
The last announcement I heard from the Portland show organizers said there were 138 models on hand, but that number seems very low. As I walked around the area I saw people with many different models, including a few guys who built models out of old Briggs & Stratton lawn mower engines. I also saw a good number of models made from air compressors and still others made from scratch. I know I missed some of the vendors as I walked around enjoying the beauty of all the models, knowing that I want one of each of them!
Also, inside what's called the 'swap barn,' I found the oldest metal lathe I have ever seen, a treadle lathe made in Cincinnati, Ohio, by the Sheffield Co. in the 1800s. The owner told me he sat down on it and made a few chips with it (which were still present on the ground) after unloading it at the show. That old lathe made me wonder how we ever got where we are today, but it also re-enforced the idea that anyone can make a model if they only try.
By the way, if you happen to know of a vendor or of a model that needs mentioning, please feel free to pass them on to me or get them to Richard Backus at GEM. We are working on an update of GEM's web page, and I will try to have a section listing the different model builders and tooling suppliers I mention each month. Is this hobby great, or what?
This month's tip for model and scale parts sources:
- McKinley Machine Corp. has new and used machinery. (260) 347-4440.
- Farm Collector Books has books on steam and Stirling engines you can build: (866) 803-7096; www.farmcollector.com
These tips will be for your thoughts only, and your fuel lines may vary.